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Paganism in H.O.D. and Painted Bird

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Introduction

Kamila Wojciechowicz THE ROLE OF PAGANISM AND GREEK TRAGEDY IN H.O.D. AND PAINTED BIRD In my oral presentation, I would like to discuss the role of paganism present in Painted Bird and H.O.D. Paganism, which means in Latin "rustic" or "country dweller" refers to all people, who celebrate all kinds of rituals and traditions that do not have Christian origins. The following term has a pejorative connotation, therefore it is replaced frequently by terms: polytheism, shamanism or animism. Mythology, such as Scandinavian or Greek are important examples of paganism, which determined the Pre-Christian Europeans. In paganism, Gods had different roles to fulfill. Freya(norse) and Aphrodite(greek) or Venus(roman) were goddesses responsible for love, passion, beauty and to some extent fertility. Freya however, had many a more roles to play in Norse mythology. Apart for the functions already mentioned, she was the goddess responsible for wars, battles, death, magic and telling the future. This part of a 12th century Swedish tapestry has been interpreted to show, from left to right, the one-eyed Odin, the hammer-wielding Thor and Freyr holding up an ear of corn. This triad corresponds closely to the trifunctional division: Odin is the patron of priests and magicians, Thor of warriors, and Freyr of fertility and farming.[1] Stupid Ludmila is a character invented by Jerzy Kosinski, the author of P.B. ...read more.

Middle

"The women held Ludmila down flat against the grass. They sat on her hands and legs and began beating her with rakes, ripping her skin with their fingernails, tearing out her hair, spitting into her face. When the last woman finished kicking, Ludmila was dead." What is even more surprising, is that she fits the scheme of a "painted bird sacrifice". Stupid Ludmila becomes the "sacrifice" since she lives in isolation an therefore does not exactly belong anywhere. In tribal mentality, there was no place for any exceptions since it decreased the chances of survival. Ludmila, therefore had to be exterminated (not to mention the hatred and jealousy village women felt towards her). Kurtz's tribal wife is also an extraordinary character in Joseph Conrad's H.O.D, even though the author has devoted her only a few pages. Here is a fragment of H.O.D, which is a profound characterization of the lady:"She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She had innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things, charms, gifts of witch-men, that hung about her, glittered and trembled at every step." According to African culture, she could have been regarded as a beauty and even the narrator characterizes her as a fascinating and gorgeous woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

The African woman might have known Kurtz's fate, which was why she could not bear her helplessness and casts a shadow upon the steamboat ."Her face had the tragic and fierce aspect of wild sorrow and of dumb pain mingled with the fear of some struggling, half shaped resolve. Pain and resolve are motives present in both female characters I have chosen to analyze. In order to continue the endless coil of birth and rebirth, they had to sacrifice their selves. Ludmila had to unwillingly pay it with her life, while the African woman by forsaking the man for whom she felt unutterable passion(that's at least what I presume. Would she have any other reasons to despair so much?). Taking everything into account, Ludmila and the African woman appear to have many features in common and yet seem to be connected with Freya, the primary Norse goddess I have mentioned at the beginning of my presentation. Freya, as we remember was responsible for fertility, love and passion, which are attributes close top Stupid Ludmila. However, Freya was as well the goddess of war, magic, death and prophecy which refers to Kurtz's tribal wife. It seems that both literary characters play complementary roles determined by the 3rd function of pagan gods and wild nature they represent. Thank you for listening so attentively to my oral presentation. Do you have any questions? ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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